Bank Robbery in Tylerdale
December 4, 2018
Another robbery has occurred in the area, this time at a bank in the Tylerdale area of Washington.
At about 4 pm on November 30th, police were called to Washington Financial Bank at 98 E. Wylie Ave. The robber was already gone by the time the first officer arrived a few minutes later, according to a report filed by city police.
According to a teller, a man approached her window and then opened his wallet, showing her a note that said: "give me all $100s, no dye packs, don't say anything."
Reportedly, the man presented the note when the teller questioned him. The police report states that the robber told the teller to "just give it all" when she said that she had only a few hundred dollar bills. He indicated to her that she should hurry and remain quiet.
The man left after the teller gave him the rest of the money that she had in her drawer, which included hundred-dollar and fifty-dollar bills. Police don't know how much he took.
The report states that surveillance footage shows a man in a black hoodie, black baseball cap, dark boots, and black sunglasses coming through the parking lot of the bank. He is described as having a thin mustache and goatee.
The police report as it originally was filed indicated that they had a suspect, but that no one had been charged in the robbery as of Monday morning. However, two days later, the City of Washington Police Department posted on their Facebook page that an arrest warrant had been issued for a man named Francis N. Falcon. Falcon is a white male, age 36, 5’ 7” tall and weighing about 170 pounds.
Falcon is accused of stealing more than $400 from the bank. The arrest warrant was signed by District Judge Robert Redlinger on Wednesday. The last known address for Mr. Falcon is in Morris Township.
It is believed that Falcon left the bank on foot. There is no mention in the court papers of a weapon being in his possession while he was committing the robbery.
Tips as to Falcon’s name were gathered after police posted a picture of the robbery taken from surveillance cameras at the bank. A tattoo that could be seen on Falcon’s neck was matched to one in other pictures that were reviewed by the investigating officer, Lt. Daniel Stanek. Stanek was assisted in his identification by a state parole officer who was supervising Falcon in a previous case.
It seems Mr. Falcon had an accomplice. As part of their investigation, police reviewed footage from two nearby businesses: McCarrell’s Tax Service on Allison Avenue and Neal Funeral Home, also on Allison Avenue. Footage from the surveillance cameras at those two businesses show an older-model Hyundai with paint damage dropping Falcon off, circling the area during the robbery, and then picking him up after. The driver of that vehicle is unknown but is a white man.
Mr. Falcon faces charges of theft, conspiracy, and robbery. No attorney is listed as representing him in court papers.
Now, none of us know what Mr. Falcon’s reasons were for allegedly robbing that bank. Maybe he needed money for his kids’ Christmas. I can tell you, as a Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney, that his theft charge is likely a first-degree misdemeanor based on the amount of money he got away with. If no weapon was used, that is in his favor, because once a gun or knife are involved, the charges and penalties are a lot worse. Still, it could be argued that the teller did not know he didn’t have a weapon and feared for her life. I hope for his sake, he hires a good lawyer.
An experienced Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney would be able to identify several defenses that might get Falcon’s charges reduced or dismissed. Certainly, if he had no weapon, that can be used as a defense, though it’s admittedly a weak one. The identification of Falcon as the robber can be called into question, as well, despite the comparison of the tattoo. What technology did investigators use to make sure the tattoos matched? How accurate was the image? These are just two options for defense. A seasoned attorney will be beneficial for Mr. Falcon’s case.